Let’s say, you are someone who wants to take the next step, beyond just thinking about anime, and beyond writing about anime for a personal blog or a fan website, and would like to actually publish your writing about anime (or manga, or a related topic) an academic journal, the kind that college professors would read and would assign to their students to read, the kind that would be included in journal databases, the kind that could potentially be referred to in other scholarly articles and even in books! So, where do you go with your writing? Is there such a thing as a “Journal of Anime Studies” – or something similar? 

As it turns out, “sort of”: the first issue of a Journal of Anime and Manga Studies is set to be published this spring. But, another way to approach this same topic is by thinking about the “publication trends” of anime and manga studies more broadly. In general, what journals does scholarly writing on Japanese animation and Japanese comics actually appear in? It is also useful to consider whether are there any particular titles that dominate the field. The actual usefulness of asking these questions is not hard to understand. The answers to them are useful for anyone who is interested in learning about opportunities to publish their research on anime/manga, as well as to scholars who would like to identify specific journals to be aware of to learn about new trends and directions in research. And in a more abstract sense, it is also possible to use the journals that support anime and manga studies as an academic field to get a sense of the field’s overall identity.

Previously, I examined “publication trends in anime/manga studies” for the years from 1993 to 2015 (identifying a total of at least 965 articles), and from 2015 to 2018 (369 articles). For both periods, I also listed the ten journals that carried the largest number of articles. And now, with the list of English-language journal articles and other scholarly publications on anime/manga that appeared in 2019 largely complete, I can extend the analysis to one more year.

Publication Trends in Anime and Manga Studies – 2019

Based on my research, there were at least 87 scholarly articles on anime/manga published in English last year. This is the lower number since 2012, although it’s always possible that there are some articles I am simply not aware of. In addition, the Fall 2019 issue of Mechademia (Volume 12, no. 1, “Transnational fandom”) has not appeared as of yet, nor have 2019 issues of the International Journal of Comic Art. The 87 articles were published in a total of 67 different journals.

These journals published more than one article each:

Animation Studies: 4 
Journal of Adaptation in Film & Performance: 4
Plaridel: A Philippine Journal of Communication, Media, and Society: 3
Transformative Works & Cultures: 3
Contemporary Japan; Creative Industries Journal; Discourse, Context, & Media; Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research; Image: Journal of Interdisciplinary Image Science; ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies; Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics; Journal of War & Culture Studies; Screen; Translation Matters: 2 each

But, beyond them, articles on different aspects of anime/manga and how audiences around the world engage with anime/manga appeared in 53 other journals – Asia in Focus, Children’s Literature in Education, Current Issues in Tourism, Global Media and China, Journal of Health Communication, Nordlit, Voiceworks – and plenty of others, in a wide range of fields and subjects.

So, what are the implications of this kind of listing? Here, I would argue that perhaps the most important implication has to do with how anyone who is interested in publishing research on anime/manga can actually approach deciding where to submit their research. Yes, one perhaps easy way to think anime and manga is to emphasize format and “source”. Anime is a subset of animation, manga is a subset of comics, and anime/manga are, first and foremost, identified with a particular and specific culture – so, obvious “homes” for scholarship on anime/manga are journals on animation, on comics, and on Asian/East Asian/Japanese studies – Animation Studies, Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, ImageTexTAsian Studies ReviewContemporary JapanJapan Studies Review, and other similar ones.

But, clearly, it is not the only way, and thinking only about these types of journals simply leaves out many different possibilities. A research paper can discuss anime/manga – but emphasize a particular context or approach – that would make it appropriate for publication in a more specialized journal. In this way, Shoujo versus seinen? Address and reception in Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011) appears in Children’s Literature in Education – which, despite the title, is a “key source of articles on all aspects of children’s literature”, in all formats – “fiction, poetry, drama and non-fictional material (plus studies in other media: film, TV, computer games, online works); visual narratives from picture books and comics to graphic novels”. Similarly,  Popular culture and politics: Re-narrating the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands dispute, which analyzes depictions of the dispute in two anime and a Chinese live-action drama, is in the Cambridge Review of International Affairs, and  Depictions of tobacco and alcohol use in contemporary Japanese shonen manga is published in the Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives

“Scholars in the humanities enjoy many possibilities when selecting topics, publication channels, and whom to cite”, notes Bjorn Hammarfelt in Beyond coverage: Toward a bibliometrics for the humanities. This analysis, and the previous similar ones that I conducted, supports the assertion. And I hope that as anime and manga studies continues to develop as a field, scholars who are participating in it recognize the opportunities for sharing our knowledge that we have access to, and take advantage of these opportunities.

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